A public-private partnership known as Plenary Roads Denver is redeveloping U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder.

DALLAS - Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has vetoed a bill that would have placed limits on public-private partnerships for transportation projects such as the U.S. 36 redevelopment project between Boulder and Denver.

Senate Bill 197, the Transportation Enterprise Transparency Act, was introduced by Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, after the Colorado Department of Transportation signed a 50-year contract with a consortium of companies called Plenary Roads Denver to rebuild and expand U.S. 36.

The length of the $490 million contract for the project, which will include managed toll lanes, drew local protests, including the threat of a lawsuit. Complaints that the process was not accessible to the public prompted SB 197, Jones said.

Among other provisions, the bill would have limited P3 transportation projects to 35 years unless authorized by the Colorado General Assembly.

Hickenlooper, citing dozens of requests that he veto the bill, said the proposed law would have placed too many restrictions on the state's ability to transact business on transportation projects.

"Colorado's transportation needs remain underfunded, and we must do more with less," the Democrat said in his executive veto order. "P3s are a necessary tool the state can leverage to deliver important transportation projects."

The governor noted that the General Assembly in 2009 directed his office to aggressively pursue public-private partnerships for transportation infrastructure to help solve the funding dilemma the state faced. Revenues from fuel taxes have fallen as fuel efficiency has improved in the last decade.

Hickenlooper also argued that private sector and local government stakeholders were not adequately involved in SB 197's development.

"In committee, private sector representatives warned that the bill's rushed process and lack of business community input could result in unintended consequences," the governor's statement said. "With legislation of this complexity, it is critical that all stakeholders and partners be actively engaged in a robust and thorough process to ensure good outcomes and good law; we fear that was not the case with SB 14-197."

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